Saturday, January 21, 2017

It's been quite a long time...

It's been a very long time.  I mean verrrrrry long!

Okay, it's been several years since my last update and I suppose I owe some kind of explanation.  Early in 2008 a lot of things in my life changed causing me to all but stop my guitar building.  My last post really was about the final thing I did on my guitars up until just a few weeks ago.  When I was building back in '07 and '08 I owned a small electrical contracting business.  Well we all know what happened in '08 and what that did to the building industry.  I kept my business running but the writing was on the wall so in January of '08 I decided to start a part time online bookselling business.

That went well and did a good job of filling the gaps that were appearing in my electrical business because of the housing crash.  By mid 2010 it was obvious that my book business was supporting the losses in the electrical business so I shut the contracting business down and went into online sales full time.  It was fun but it was also very time consuming.  So much so that I had no time to work on my guitars.  My mind was elsewhere and my time was just not there.  All was going well and then in 2012 we took a trip back to Colorado to visit my in-laws.  It was a great visit but when we came home both my wife and I knew that we needed to move back west to be near them as it was pretty obvious that because of health and age issues, they needed us near enough to help and not 1800 miles away.

So that is when the next major change happened.  We decided to sell the home and land we absolutely loved to move west.  That next year was spent doing a lot of 'fix-up' stuff to the house, barn and property to get it ready to sell.  We listed and sold the house in mid '14, packed up a big truck and moved to Wyoming.  We lived in an apartment for 6 months while looking for a home to buy.  We did find a home, bought it and spent a lot of time doing renovations to make it more livable.  All the while our online business grew and thrived, and it still does. 

Of course other stuff happened during that time like my oldest daughter getting married, my youngest daughter graduating, and most importantly my first grandchild being born!  Life has a funny way of getting in the way of hobbies.

So that brings us up to a few months ago when a strange thing happened.  We hired a new worship leader in our church that as coincidence would have it, builds and repairs guitars as a side business.  That got the itch going.  Once I finally let him know that I used to build guitars we hit it off.  He asks me all the time about the partially built parlor guitar that was abandoned back in '08 when life got in the way.  So I cleaned up my shop, dug out my building supplies as well as the parlor and am back at it.  One other thing, our worship leader offered free guitar lessons late last year and I did them.  I am practicing every day and for the first time, I feel like I am actually learning how to play.  I am very far from playing in front of people but I am having a lot of fun making noise!

I am getting the parlor finished up and have started a new all maple SJ. I will try to be active with posting here but I will be honest, I most likely won't be posting at the level that I did before.  I will try to keep you all up to date with what I am doing as well as including photos but because I posted so much in the past about the procedures I will most likely only post about major things I come across and new techniques I try.  I will say, it has been a good thing to have this old blog to reference back to.  You would be amazed at how many thing I have forgotten that the old posts help me with.


This is the parlor.  You probably remember it from way back when.  I am using Tru-oil as a finish and so far I like it.  I pore filled with Zpoxy and this picture is after 13 very thin coats of Tru-oil.  I am planning on 17 coats total. 

This is the back of the parlor.  The striped mahogany really 'pops' with the finish.  The photos don't do a good job of showing but when I do a fine sanding between coats it gets a mirror finish.  When I get down to final sanding and polish it should be stunning.

Here is the Parlor neck.  Same 13 coats of tru-oil.

The slot head under finish.  It is straight.  For some reason the photo makes it look like it is crooked.  I think it is because the neck is on a vice and it isn't sitting straight so I had to hold the phone at an angle. 

I brought all of my bending stuff as well as my side molds when we moved.  Just had to dust them off to get started again.  This is the second side being bent for the new maple SJ.

Success!  I have to admit, I was a little nervous doing these bends after all of the years not doing it.  I guess once you learn it, you can do it after a long break.
The maple SJ in the form with the heel and neck blocks glued up.  I did have one mishap.  The side closest to you cracked at the tail.  It is a pretty long crack too, about 8" along the length of the side.  I CA glued it together and am hoping that the crack won't be too terribly visible under finish.  I did some test pieces afterwords with some tru-oil and I can see the glued crack in the test pieces.  Hopefully once I get the box closed and bindings on the crack won't be as visible.  I will know it is there but it does kind of look like a grain line so maybe others won't notice it.  Oh well, I guess some mistakes are to be expected with how rusty I am right now.

Well I know this has been very long and I salute you if you have made it to the bottom of this entry.  I will leave you with a picture of my new shop.  It is about half the square footage of my old shop and is in the basement with no windows so figuring out a good work flow is taking some time.

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